Best ice cream for NYC kids
Whether in a cup or on a stick, we all scream for it. Here's where to get it.
Thu Jan 1 2009
Big Gay Ice Cream Truck
All restaurant information is correct as of press time. However, since hours, prices and other details are subject to change, it's wise to call ahead.
Big Gay Ice Cream Truck
Location varies (biggayicecreamtruck.com). Average cone/cup: $3.
From a block away, the flamboyant dessert-vendor-on-wheels might be confused for Mr. Softee, but up close, there's no mistaking the rainbow-cone logo. Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff serve up the traditional vanilla and chocolate soft-serve options to less adventurous customers. For more intrepid tykes, they have an array of toppings ranging from pumpkin butter to crushed wasabi peas.
*196 Court St between Congress and Wyckoff Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn ( (718-858-0408, bluemarbleicecream.com)
*186 Underhill Ave between Sterling and St. Johns Pls, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-399-6926, bluemarbleicecream.com). Mini cup or cone: $2.90.
The small-batch wares at this Brooklyn minichain are crafted from organic dairy and sugar. Kids can top the cold stuff with all-natural, often locally harvested toppings, including honey, hot fudge, sea salt and Nunu chocolates.
228 Flatbush Ave between Bergen St and Sixth Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-783-1250, bklynlarder.com). Subway: 2, 3 to Bergen St. One pint: $8.95.
While many will balk at the cost-per-serving ratio, we can assure you that this gelato made in-store is worth the cash. Simple flavors like espresso and strawberry (when in season) are tempting, but the real star is the fior di latte ("milk flower"). A fusion of sugar, a dash of salt and milk make this savory-yet-sweet pint anything but vanilla.
Greene Ice Cream
229 DeKalb Ave at Clermont Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (greeneicecream.com). Subway: G to Clinton--Washington Aves; C to Lafayette Ave. Average cone/cup: $3.
The brainchild of former Gramercy Tavern pastry chef Nicholas Morgenstern, the small cart serves up Philadelphia-style (eggless) ice cream each day in front of his restaurant, the General Greene. The ice cream is handmade in small batches and comes in a variety of flavors, from the expected vanilla and chocolate to so-called hardcore choices such as peanut butter banana curry and butterscotch black pepper.
157 Duane St between West Broadway and Hudson St (212-732-5555, duaneparknyc.com/griffs.html). Subway: A, C, 1, 2, 3 to Chambers St. Average cone/cup: $4.
Located outside the luxe Duane Park Restaurant & Lounge, this haute-cuisine equivalent of the old-school neighborhood ice cream stand offers a rotating daily flavor and a variety of sweet and fruity gelato, yogurt and sorbet options. Snag some bourbon-pecan for yourself; tot-friendly options include bubblegum and peanut butter-malted milk balls.
Jacques Torres Ice Cream
66 Water St between Dock and Main Sts, Dumbo, Brooklyn (212-414-2462, mrchocolate.com). Subway: F to York St. See website for other locations. One scoop: $3.
While the French chocolatier is best known for his bonbons, don't pass up the ice cream offerings at his mini-chain's Dumbo location (offerings are more extensive here than at his Manhattan outlets). Look for Jacques's signature flavor, which features chocolate chip cookie bits.
Lula's Sweet Apothecary
516 E 6th St between Aves A and B (646-481-5852, lulassweetapothecary.com). Single cup or cone: $3.95.
Zealous fans of this old-fashioned parlor praise the warm service as highly as they do the frozen vegan desserts. Even dairy addicts are delighted by the flavor and texture of the many hand-packed and soft-serve options—each created in-house from a cashew base, with coconut and soy occasionally used. Kids will love the sundaes, flurries and wide variety of rotating topping options, such as house-made peanut butter cups and gummy bears. The only drawback, as described by one Supervegan.com wit: "The store makes Das Boot seem spacious."
46-33 Vernon Blvd between 46th Rd and 47th Ave, Long Island City, Queens (718-937-1312). Subway: 7 to Vernon Blvd--Jackson Ave; G to 21st St. Average cup: $3. High chairs, booster seats.
Long Island City families flock to this rustic Italian caf for reasonably priced pizzas and pasta dishes, but stay for the homemade gelato. Flavors change daily and tend toward the traditional (hazelnut, vanilla), but the menu also includes offbeat options like popcorn, which tastes like it came straight out of a box of Cracker Jack.
Melt Gelato and Crpe Caf
1053 Second Ave between 55th and 56th Sts (646-329-6445, meltgelato.com). Small cup or cone: $4.30.
This multistate chain made its much-welcome NYC debut in 2009. Busy workers churn out daily doses of high-density ice cream at the back of the store, using machines shipped all the way from bella Italia.
Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar
207 Second Ave at 13th St (212-254-3500, momofuku.com/bakery). Single cup or cone: $4.15.
David Chang's restaurant empire got a little bit sweeter with the opening of this soft-serve treatery in 2008. The frequently changing menu may include the classic (chocolate mint), the wacky (sour gummy, fireball) and the downright scrumptious (Bavarian cream doughnut).
Odeon Ice Cream Cart
145 West Broadway between Duane and Thomas Sts (212-233-0507, theodeonrestaurant.com). Subway: A, C, 1, 2, 3 to Chambers St. One scoop: $4.
Using ice cream sourced directly from the Tribeca restaurant's kitchen, this popular cart focuses on classic tastes. Vanilla and mint-chocolate-chip connoisseurs will be very happy; those seeking something out of the ordinary may want to look elsewhere.
152 Fifth Ave between Douglass and DeGraw Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-398-3671, okoyogurt.com). Small cup: $4.25.
This environmentally conscious caf, whose name means "eco" in several European languages, specializes in tangy, all-natural fro-yo, made with a low-fat Greek yogurt base. A serving may look like Pinkberry's, but the flavor—devoid of any chemical aftertaste—is far superior. Four varieties, such as banana, peach, mango, green tea and orange cream, are available daily.
Chelsea Market, 425 W 15th St (347-850-2833, peoplespops.com). Subway: A, C, E to 14th St. Pops: $3.50. Shaved ice: $2.50.
We were thrilled when the Greenmarket ice pop purveyor set up shop at Chelsea Market in April 2010, making the weekends-only Brooklyn Flea specialty a daily Manhattan affair. Nearly all the produce that goes into the pops comes from local sources, so the frequently changing flavors depend on what fruits and herbs are fresh and in season. People's still maintains a presence at the Flea from April to October; check the website for days and locations.
5 Carmine St at Sixth Ave (212-255-4874, pop-bar.com). Subway: A, C, E, B, D, F to W 4th St. Pops: from $3.75.
Patrons can customize their choice of gelato-, sorbet- or yogurt-on-a-stick with toppings such as chopped hazlnuts and shredded coconut, plus a dark, milk or white chocolate dip. The shop, which opened in May 2010, offers combo suggestions—say, vanilla gelato, chocolate-dipped on top and chocolate-drizzled on the bottom, or pistachio gelato covered in chopped nuts and drizzled with dark chocolate—but kids (and adults!) are encouraged to use their imaginations to delicious effect.
94 Reade St between Church St and West Broadway (212-571-0500, tribecatreats.com). Subway: A, C, 1, 2, 3 to Chambers St. Ice cream sandwich: $3.50.
At investment-banker-turned-confectioner (and mom of two) Rachel Thebault's bakery, Van Leeuwen, Chozen or Ronnybrook ice cream is sandwiched between two house-made cookies and, if you've been really, really good, rolled in rainbow sprinkles. The petite treats are perfectly sized for small hands.
260 Fifth Ave between Carroll St and Garfield Pl, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-230-3119, troispommespatisserie.com). Subway: R to Union St. Single cup $3.50, cone $5.50.
Owner and former Union Square Cafe pastry chef Emily Isaac whips up a variety of sweets, ranging from apple pies to homemade cookies, at her shop. They're tempting, but so are the ice cream and sorbets found in the case toward the back of the store. Mint chocolate chip contains fresh herbs from a local farmers' market, which bring a refreshing kick to the otherwise common flavor; the chocolate sorbet holds no surprises but is nothing short of decadent.
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Truck
632 Manhattan Ave between Bedford and Nassau Aves, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-701-1630, vanleeuwenicecream.com; check website for other locations). Small cup: $3.95. Visit website for truck locations.
Refurbished yellow postal vehicles—and a new Greenpoint store—dispense organic goodies with an enviably fresh, simple taste. The brothers Van Leeuwen combine all-natural ingredients in their sinfully luscious product; compostable cups and spoons allow your family to feel virtuous while indulging in rich dairy vice.—Reported by Kay Boatner, Julia Israel, Carolyn Juris, Maureen Shelly, Thomas Sullivan and Patrisha Holly Zabrycki